Katherine R. Willson of Dexter, Michigan is an engaging & dynamic genealogy lecturer at local, regional, and national conferences; an educator teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced genealogy classes in Michigan since 2001; the author of The Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan (published in 2018 by The In-Depth Genealogist), and a professional researcher for private clients.
Her genealogy interests began as an 8-year-old Junior Girl Scout working towards the now-retired “My Heritage” badge, and her passion was fueled when, after college, both her mother’s and father’s relatives gave her binders containing generations’ worth of family information.
Her success in using Facebook to break down genealogical brick walls both personally and in her classroom inspired her to catalog 16,700+ Facebook genealogy links (updated January 2021). Additionally, she has compiled 179 instructional genealogical channels on YouTube (updated August 2020), and 60 genealogy-related podcasts (updated August 2020).
Her passion for genealogy combined with practical and creative strategies keeps Katherine’s audience fully engaged and actively participating in her energetic and entertaining presentations. Participants leave with the tools necessary to do their own research, as well as the inspiration to do it!
Katherine’s past genealogical society positions have included:
- Virtual Genealogical Association – Founder/President (2018-2020)
- Michigan Genealogical Council – Vice-President (2016-2017) & President (2018-2019)
- Association of Professional Genealogists – Board of Directors (2018-2019)
- Federation of Genealogical Societies – Conference Publicity Chair (2019)
- Genealogical Speakers Guild – Secretary (2018-2019)
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh – Social Media Chair (2018-2019)
As an Army Reserve wife of 25+ years, Katherine has assisted military families as a Family Readiness Group Leader, an Army Family Programs volunteer, and a member of the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) Cadre of Speakers. In those positions, she traveled to events around the country that were providing resources and support to military members and their loved ones who were in the stages of pre-deployment, during deployment, and post-deployment.
In addition to her love for genealogy and public speaking, she is a mixed-media artist and served for 10 years as a board member for the Ann Arbor Women Artists (President, 2009-2013; Vice-President & Chair of Juried Exhibits Committee, 2007-2009; and Treasurer, 2003-2007).